The Controversy Angle – Selling Newspapers Through Video Games

January 6, 2010 by admin  
Filed under General Video Gaming

It is hard to talk about video games for a long time without mentioning Grand Theft Auto. And it is hard to mention Grand Theft Auto without talking about the controversy about the game, a controversy which is whipped up every time people have a difficulty in trying to sell newspapers or attract viewers or listeners to topical talk shows. You know how it goes – the game encourages violence, and it is responsible for lawless youth. It is a complete logical non-sequitur, but it gets people angry and it shifts blame from more deserving targets.

One of the major elements of the criticism aimed at Grand Theft Auto is the idea that in an average playing of the game you get the opportunity to pay a prostitute for sex and when the transaction is complete you beat her to death and take the money back. While it is indeed true that you can do this in some of the games, it is equally true that it is more than likely that people playing the game never even thought of doing so before it was reported far and wide on TV talk shows.

Video games will portray things that should not happen in real life, and it is fair to hold the opinion that this is a shame. However, the same moral standards do not seem to apply to classic works of literature and film-making, or indeed to depictions of real life. In video games, you can indeed do things that are wrong, but it might be more productive to concentrate on the people who are doing things like this for real, without needing the encouragement of a video game.

Not Just For Nerds Anymore?

January 6, 2010 by admin  
Filed under General Video Gaming

The popularity of video gaming has been a comfortable source for many news stories over the years. They are something to blame if something goes wrong in a high school, for teenage obesity, and even in some places for the lowering in quality of outdoor sports. A poor supply of players in skill positions? It’s because they were playing the game on a screen rather than on a patch of turf somewhere, honing their skills. Is it valid reasoning? Almost certainly not. Does it provide a handy way of abdicating responsibility for the failure of a system? Sure it does.

The truth is that video games have their good and bad points, but it is entirely unfair to make baseless generalisations about them to cover for a deeper malaise. High school shootings have been blamed on violent video games, even when it is clear to anyone with an understanding of psychology that the tiniest fraction of people playing a video game will be unable to understand the clear difference between what goes on onscreen and what is acceptable in real life. Not only that, but if people are convinced by a video game that what they do in the game is OK in real life, then they can realistically think that about a TV show, a movie or even a news broadcast.

The vast majority of gamers are completely ordinary people, and anyone with any common sense realizes that. But the stories won’t go away, and we should probably accept this fact.